Bollywood has come a long way, especially with regards to its promotional strategies. Earlier, films relied on enticing viewers with free goodies. But producers have now shifted their focus to tactics that make more headlines than the movies themselves!
A recent example of this is Yash Raj Films’ (YRF) promotion of Bewakoofiyaan. Unlike anything that’s been done before, YRF came up with a contest called Get a Job @ YRF. This contest allowed candidates to get a job in the marketing department at the esteemed production house. But here’s the twist – the final round of the interview was conducted by the stars of Bewakoofiyaan – Sonam Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana. The contest gained over 1000 applicants and created a lot of buzz in the media, giving the film a head start.
Here are six other films that made waves with their unique promotional strategies:
Shahrukh Khan didn’t leave any stone unturned when it came to promoting 2011’s Ra.One. He spent a staggering Rs. 52 crore on the marketing budget, which was the highest Bollywood had ever spent on a film. The Telegraph also reported that the producers signed promotional deals with 25 consumer brands. However, Ra.One’s digital marketing strategy was its main strength. It became one of the first Bollywood films to incorporate gaming and merchandise in its promotion. In October 2011, “Ra.One – The Game” was released for the Sony PlayStation. SRK also teamed up with Seventymm to release merchandise like tee-shirts, watches and video cameras.
However, Ra.One still gained a lukewarm response. In fact, it was panned by critics and didn’t perform as well as SRK’s other films.
In the months leading up to the release of Ghajini, Aamir Khan was everywhere. It all began when over 100 employees at Big Cinemas shaved their heads, replicating his now iconic look. However, they weren’t the only ones sporting the hairstyle. To promote his upcoming release, Khan decided to give some lucky fans the Ghajini haircut himself!
As if all this wasn’t enough, the film also had a tie-up with Van Heusen. The brand organized a fashion show, in which all the models walked the runway rocking Aamir’s signature look. All this effort certainly paid off, as the film raked in over Rs. 90 crore on just the first weekend!
Alia Bhatt shocked everyone when she tweeted about her upcoming engagement on February 25. However, the shock was only momentary. The tweet was quickly revealed to be the announcement for the trailer launch of her upcoming film, 2 States. The young starlet tweeted a wedding card that invited viewers to watch the trailer, which would be launched the following day. The tweet certainly helped the buzz surrounding the film, with many of the actress’ 9,00,000+ followers viewing and sharing the tweet.
It’s still unknown how well the film will perform. But with the book’s rabid fan-base and all the hype, there’s only one possibility.
Aamir Khan is nothing if not innovative. It’s no secret that the actor tries to play characters that are as diverse as possible. However, this also reflects in his promotional strategies.
While he was everywhere promoting Ghajini, Aamir’s approach towards 3 Idiots was much different. The actor, who portrayed a character that had been missing for years, also went missing. Well, kind of. To promote 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan announced that he would “go missing” in a unique game of hide-and-seek. As a part of this game, the actor visited a variety of locations in the country for 2 weeks. Seven clues about his location were given to the public. So what was the cherry on the cake? The first clue was given out by none other than Sachin Tendulkar!
Though it was a risky gamble, the strategy proved successful. In fact, 3 Idiots broke the Guinness World Record for the highest-grossing Bollywood film ever!
Moviegoers were in for a pleasant surprise when they visited the box office at Mumbai’s Fame Cinemas. As a part of the promotion of her upcoming film, Kahaani, Vidya Balan got behind the ticket window. Can you imagine walking up to buy a movie ticket and facing Vidya Balan?
To add to this, the actress also promoted Kahaani at the Khar railway station. There, she dressed up as her character — complete with the prosthetic belly — and searched for her "missing husband". She distributed pamphlets with a sketch, along with details about her hubby. She also asked the commuters about him, piquing interest in the film. Vidya Balan also showed up at other promotional appearances dressed as her heavily-pregnant character.
All this surely played a part in Kahaani‘s well-deserved success at the box office.
For 2013’s Dhoom 3, Aamir Khan picked an entirely new promotional strategy. Instead of making the usual television appearances, the actor resorted to a "less-is-more" approach.
Though films usually rely on these appearances to gain exposure, YRF and Aamir decided to let the trailers do the talking. They also took an unconventional approach to promotion of the soundtrack. Unlike other films, the music from Dhoom 3 wasn’t completely unveiled until the release of the movie. In fact, only 30-second teasers of the songs were aired on television. This strategy paid off, making Dhoom 3 the first Indian film to cross the five-billion rupee mark!
However, it would be unfair to say that Aamir Khan did this all by himself. He had some help from his friend and Bigg Boss host, Salman Khan. Even though the cast of Dhoom 3 did not make an appearance on the show, Salman promoted the film by himself. As a gesture of friendship, he also donned the infamous bowler hat on the show!
All these strategies have taken movies to a whole new level of commercial success. It’s now become commonplace for movies to gross over hundreds of crores — whether or not they’re good. So while these promotional tactics might be intriguing, don’t always believe the hype!